This happens frequently… I get a call on the phone, a nice someone says “my friend said you’re a good Realtor… I saw a house I like in Logan – can you show it to me?” I absolutely love a call like this – because there are few things more satisfying than helping someone find a great home. BUT…there are a few steps that should be taken BEFORE we go out & look at homes. Just as successful baking (following a recipe) often has sequential ramifications, home buying goes much more smoothly if things are performed in a certain order. It should go something like this:
1) Find a Realtor – that you trust, is attentive, knowledgeable and that you won’t mind spending time with. (Check references). Make sure the Realtor is someone who will have your best interests in mind, and then please be loyal to them in return. Realtors receive no compensation until a transaction (home sale or purchase) is successfully completed.
2) Get pre-approved for a loan with a lender who is competent, qualified & knowledgeable! Once again, check references… there are many loan programs, find out which one will be the best for your situation. If you need to wait a while & save up some more money or get rid of some debt in order to obtain a loan with more favorable terms… do it! A good lender will give you direction. Either you or your lender need to let your Realtor know what loan program you will be using. FHA loans have certain guidelines – not all houses will qualify for that type of loan. USDA loans have geographic parameters – so if you are getting a USDA loan, you need to look at homes only in certain areas.. (In Cache Valley, homes in North Logan, Logan, River Heights, Providence, and parts of Nibley will NOT qualify for a USDA loan).
If you have CASH to buy a home, you may ignore step two – and go straight to looking at homes! You’ll also have additional negotiation power:-)
3) Now that you know your budget, know your loan parameters, have your pre-approval letter and you have the ability to act when you find the home that “trips your trigger” IT’S TIME TO LOOK AT HOMES! When you find a home/homes that you want to see, please let your Realtor know a day in advance if possible. Showings need to be scheduled with the sellers who often need ample notice to get the home ready and find a place to go while you’re there. It also makes sense to be able to schedule showings logistically – saving time, gas & air quality.
When these steps are performed out of order, sellers are inconvenienced needlessly ( getting their homes in order for showings – often dragging children away from dinner, homework etc… – not to mention the emotional drag of getting their hopes up) and the buyers themselves waste time & emotional turmoil looking when they may not be in the position to buy.
If you discover you’re not quite financially ready to purchase, but you really have the hankering to look at homes, spend time looking at properties online (your Realtor will send you properties to view if you’d like to have things filtered & only look at what fits your guidelines), and by all means attend open houses.